Cycling has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I have cycled for fun, raced, been an avid supporter and worked in a bike shop. The latter is still a big part of my life now as I am involved behind the scenes of Pennine Cycles. When I was approached to share my cycling safety tips as part of the LV= cycle safety awareness campaign, of course I said yes!
There are lots of ways to ensure you stay safe when riding your bike. Here are my top 5 tips:
Get It Checked
Before you ride, especially if your bike has been in storage for a few months, make sure it is safe. Get it checked by a professional and support your local bike shop at the same time. Of course, I recommend Pennine Cycles for anyone who is in Yorkshire but if you’re in any other part of the world then find your local shop. I good shop will talk you through how you can improve your bike and make sure it is safe for you. Common un-safe issues on bikes we see are worn out brake blocks and tyres which are low on air pressure. Once you are using your bike make sure you keep up the general maintenance and get it serviced every 6 months.
It freaks me out the amount of people who ride without lights! There are 2 reasons to use lights – The first so you can see where you are going. And secondly so other people can see you. There is no excuse, good lights these days are affordable and bright. It’s a good idea to keep your lights on your bike in winter as even in the daytime the weather can be dull.
It’s the 21st Century and most people are glued to their phones! I would recommend always keeping your phone in your back pocket or in a protected bag in case of emergencies. If you’re riding on your own it’s a good idea to let someone else know where you are heading and an approximate time you will be back. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, a basic tool kit is always a good idea too. I have made a few trips to pick people and their bikes up after punctures or technical difficulties!
In my opinion the most important safety item at any time of year for a cyclist is a helmet. Much like lights, helmets are affordable and can save your life. If you’re new to cycling before you purchase any other equipment make sure you have a good helmet. Some people think they look silly wearing a helmet and so don’t to make themselves look ‘cool’. I think people look ridiculous without a helmet and I would never get on a bike not wearing one – I’ve seen too many smashed helmets to take the risk.
Bright clothing is another safety must during the winter months. When possible choose something with reflective strips on. Also go for a fluorescent colour such as yellow – The more you can do to make sure you are seen the better.
These are just 5 of my tips to keep yourself safe when riding in winter. Once you have all these cracked just go out, ride and enjoy yourself!
If you cycle I would love to hear your top safety tips in the comments below!
LV= have created a fun graphic to help you stay safe this wintertime: